Matt Damon uses toilet water in ice bucket challenge to stress sanitation issues in developing world

The actor and campaigner co-founded charity, so the ice bucket dare had "posed a problem for him"

Natasha Culzac
Tuesday 26 August 2014 15:56 BST
Matt Damon said using clean water in the ice bucket challenge "posed a problem" for him - so he used toilet water
Matt Damon said using clean water in the ice bucket challenge "posed a problem" for him - so he used toilet water (Getty)

Matt Damon used his ice bucket challenge to highlight the scarcity of clean water in developing nations, throwing toilet - instead of tap - water over himself.

The actor, who co-founded, a not-for-profit organisation helping to provide safe water and sanitation to communities in Africa, Asia and Central America, said that the dare “posed kind of a problem for me”.

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The ice bucket challenge has seen thousands of people, including many high profile public figures, dousing themselves with freezing water in a viral challenge for charity before nominating others to do the same.

It has become unofficially associated with helping to combat motor neurone disease (such as with the ALS Association), though many people have also been doing the stunt for organisations of their choice including cancer ones.

Damon was nominated by Ben Affleck and Jimmy Kimmel and said that he would also be donating to ALS.

He said on camera that the challenge was awkward for him “not only because there’s a drought here in California but because I co-founded and we envision a day when everybody has access to a clean drink of water – and there are about 800 million people in the world who don’t – so dumping a clean bucket of water on my head seemed a little crazy.”

“This is truly toilet water, I’ve been collecting it from various toilets around the house”, he said, chuckling.

“For those of you like my wife who think this is really disgusting, keep in mind that the water in our toilets in the West is actually cleaner than the water that most people in the developing world have access to.”

He added that it’s a “big problem and together we can do something about it”, before nominating George Clooney his “favourite actor”, Bono his “favourite musician” and Tom Brady the “greatest quarterback of all time”. says that more people have a mobile phone than a toilet and that women spend 200 million hours a day collecting water in some regions.

In an interview with the charity, Damon said: “As a guy who has four daughters, this is a huge issue for women and girls: girls are often left to leave school and go find water, and that obviously has a huge impact on the quality of life they can expect to have.”

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